Welcome to BUILD PODER!

Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research (PODER) is a large undergraduate biomedical research training program established in 2014 by a $21.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Under the auspices of the NIH Diversity Program Consortium (DPC), BUILD PODER is one of ten NIH-funded BUILD sites that train undergraduates to become biomedical researchers. Along with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC), BUILD sites coordinate their activities and data to develop a national database of best practices.

PODER stands for Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research. Poder also means “power” or “to be able to" in Spanish. Through the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT), we focus on social justice and reducing health disparities in communities. CRT is the basis for many programmatic activities including the student Summer JumpStart program and faculty mentor training. At BUILD PODER, we believe that when we diversify the biomedical workforce, researchers will generate innovative and relevant research questions, methods, and interpretations that will lead to health equity. 

BUILD PODER is sustained by the formation of a new Health Equity Research and Education (HERE) Center that supports 4 cluster-hired faculty members and postdoctoral scholars in engaging undergraduates in biomedical research.


In 2014, CSUN was awarded $21.3M to create an experimental undergraduate research training program to increase the diversity in the biomedical workforce. The result was BUILD PODER, a training program for undergraduate students, faculty mentors, research faculty, and our community college partner institutions, guided by critical race theory (CRT, Solórzano & Yosso, 2002) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005). In 2019, we were awarded another $18.1M aimed at disseminating and institutionalizing our evidence-based practices. Over the past 8 years, our BUILD PODER team has been working towards these goals. And we wanted to share some student highlights with you.

We are launching the first of the student infographics about the impact of BUILD PODER. You will find five infographics an overview of all CSUN trainees, and one for each of the Biomedically-related Colleges. More infographics on faculty and student-related activities is forthcoming! 


BUILD PODER Scientist of the Week: Paulo Sitagata

November 8, 2017

Paulo Sitagata

Cruising across campus on his pennyboard, BUILD PODER Scholar and kinesiology major Paulo Sitagata is always on the move. From class, to BUILD PODER student meetings, to his research position at the CSUN Center of Achievement Through Adapted Physical Activity, Sitagata is known by his friends and community as a positive individual who always progresses toward his goals.

Few would guess that the smiling and energetic co-president of the BUILD PODER student body club has traversed a long, difficult road to get to where he is today. Born in Orlando, Florida, Sitagata moved back and forth between his hometown and North Carolina before his family packed their belongings on a Greyhound bus chartered for California. It took five long days to travel over 2,000 miles across nine states, to the opposite side of the country. Read more

Twenty BUILD PODER Students Attend 2017 SACNAS Conference, Largest Meeting for Diversity in STEM in the United States

October 25, 2017

CSUN BUILD PODER students pose in group photo at SACNAS 2017

Twenty California State University, Northridge BUILD PODER students traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah last week for the 2017 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference. SACNAS is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary diversity organization in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in the United States. Its annual conference draws thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, graduate school recruiters, STEM leaders and professionals, and companies and organizations from all over the nation for three days of networking, workshops, and inspiring speakers. Read more


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